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December 2010
Dubai Film Festival
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) the leading and largest festival of its kind in the Middle East, is strengthening documentary filmmaking in the region through a new collaboration with Lebanon-based Screen Institute Beirut.

Beginning with DIFF 2010, Screen Institute Beirut will award US$15,000 annually to a documentary film under development or production and included in Dubai Film Connection, the Festival's co-production market. An international jury, comprising former Rotterdam festival director Sandra den Hamer, Carthage Film Festival head Dora Bouchoucha and Lebanese filmmaker Mohammed Sweid, will shortlist entries and name the winner of the Screen Institute Beirut DIFF Documentary Award in December.

Shivani Pandya, Managing Director of the Dubai International Film Festival, said: "Documentary films are the most popular genre in the Arab world, outstripping the number of fiction features produced every year, and DIFF is recognized by directors and film commissions alike as a strong platform for these needed voices and stories.

"The new relationship with Screen Institute Beirut will enable us to reach out to, encourage and assist more documentary filmmakers across the region, and reinforce our role as a resource and haven for Arab documentaries," she added.

Henning Camre, President of Screen Institute Beirut, said: "SIB aims at strengthening the capability and the conditions for producing films in the Arab region. Our first target is new personal documentaries that bring about stories and subjects not often exposed. The Dubai International Film Festival is offering a unique platform for young professionals from the Screen Institute to showcase their films, identify distribution options and support for new projects. Our partnership with DIFF represents an important step to widen our scope and towards building strong ties between key organisations in the Arab region"
The Dubai Film Connection has helped four such productions reach completion. Previous documentaries completed under the Dubai Film Connection banner include Raed Andoni's Fix Me, which clinched the ARTE Award in 2007; Simon El Habre's celebrated The One Man Village, winner of the DIFF 2007 Award and subsequent winner at documentary festivals in Canada, Monaco and Rotterdam; Kamal Aljafari's Port of Memory, presented in 2007; and Maher Abi Samra's We Were Communists, presented in 2008. Other projects under DFC include Mahmoud Al Massad's This is my Picture when I was Dead, winner of the DIFF 2008 Award and Mohanad Yaqubi's Off Frame, presented in 2009.
The Screen Institute Beirut is a Lebanese not-for-profit association, whose objectives are to strengthen filmmaking, infrastructure, and build filmmaking capacity in the Arab region.
The partnership follows DIFF's recent tie-up with Film Clinic Egypt, which will award a US$10,000 grant to a first-time filmmaker selected by DFC.
The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2010 will be held from December 12 to 19. DIFF 2010 is held in association with Dubai Studio City and supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF.

Dubai Film Festival
Zeina Sfeir's "All about my father - Beirut Al Mousse" will be in competition for the Muhr Arab award on the 7th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival 2010.

Film Genre: Biography, Documentary, Family Synopsis

For over seventy years, Elie Sfeir has been working as a barber in Beirut, at some of the country's most exclusive and refined salons. Now a spry octogenarian, he has a lifetime of memories to share, which he does generously in 'All About My Father', a fascinating portrait of a man who, over the years, has coiffed the heads of politicians, princes and presidents. Filmed at his home by his daughter, filmmaker Zeina Sfeir, this engaging and charming character has heard it all, gossip, intrigue, political thought, personal dilemmas - creating a unique history of Lebanon, heard directly from the lips of those who shaped it. Since starting out in a barbershop in the mountain village of Aley in 1942, to the salubrious salons of the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut, Mr Sfeir has amassed a personal history that's rich in detail, colourful in anecdotes and throughout this lovely, endlessly surprising set of recollections, utterly fascinating.

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